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The Best Thing Is Family

on-the-farm.jpg This week's BEEF magazine found at poses the question, What’s the best thing about being in the beef business? Voters have weighed in and responded that being stewards of animals and nature, having a great lifestyle to raise a family, feeding the world and being your own boss are all benefits of raising cattle. But the majority -- 57%, myself included -- listed all the above as the best part of being in the cattle business. However, of all the benefits, I think the one closest to my heart is working alongside my wonderful family each and every day. Allow me to open up my home and heart a little bit to all of you today, and I hope you will do the same.

new-heifers.jpg My husband, Tyler, and I were married in October of last year, and it's been a whirlwind of firsts so far -- buying an acreage close to the ranch, purchasing cattle, investing in the business and working with my parents as partners. A little over a month ago, we moved the replacement heifers to our place for breeding and working, a significant change that showed my parents' level of trust in our ability to feed, heat detect and care for the general well-being of these heifers on our own. It was a proud day for Tyler and me, and we had to take a few photos to celebrate the event.

Of course, we have kept busy at the ranch, but it's nice to have a few chores to call all your own, and Tyler and I keep busy with our new project. Just last night, we pulled CIDR's -- a tool we use to manage and improve reproductive efficiency (read BEEF article, Understanding CIDR), and soon, we will be artificially inseminating the first bunch. In the evenings, we enjoy pouring over every detail found in the semen catalogs, taking our time selecting which bulls to use on each female.

sisters-on-the-farm.jpg In addition to working alongside my parents, I still enjoy the friendship and camaraderie of my sisters, Courtney (age 19) and Kaley (age 14). Growing up, we fought like cats and dogs, as I suspect most siblings do, but today, we are best friends -- chatting constantly about cattle, sports, clothes and our busy schedules. Don't we look good in chore clothes and coveralls?

And, it's at the end of the day, when the work is done, supper is finished, and I'm ready to say my prayers and get some sleep, that I thank my lucky stars for the opportunities I have in life. I know I owe it all to my parents. My daddy has always been my hero -- instilling in me a passion for the industry, a hunger to learn more and the drive to keep going when the going gets tough. My mom has always been my biggest fan -- supporting me in my dreams, pushing me to reach for more, and offering me seasoned advice from a woman who has seen it all. Together, they raised me to love caring for the land and the livestock, feeding the world, being my own boss, and having a fierce loyalty to the family I get to share this wonderful life with. To me, that's the best thing about being in the cattle business.

Finally, I must thank BEEF magazine and all of the great readers of this publication. I'm honored and humbled to have the opportunity to write my thoughts and share them with all of you on a daily basis, and I'm so grateful you continue to tune in each and every week. Without you, I would never have the opportunity to pursue my dreams in production agriculture. There is a wealth of knowledge in this group, and I'm blessed that so many of you choose to offer your advice and insights on the various topics we discuss throughout the week.

So, what's the best thing about the beef business to you? Vote in the poll and share your stories in the comments section below. I would love to hear about your cattle, your land, your family and your customers. Thanks for your participation!